College Hockey:
Bemidji State ‘sticks it to’ North Dakota, beats Sioux for first time in 41 years

— Forty-one years have elapsed since the last time Bemidji State defeated North Dakota, but on Sunday night, the Beavers erased that footnote.

Dan Bakala (26 saves) and the Beavers (4-8-1, 2-6-1 WCHA) were able to get over the hump, clamping down to shut out the North Dakota Fighting Sioux (4-7-1, 2-6-0 WCHA), 1-0, in front of 3,746 at the Sanford Center.

The first victory over the Sioux as Division I opponents and first overall since the Nixon administration couldn’t have come at a better time for the Beavers, who squeaked past UND to snap a four-game winless streak.

To Bakala, snapping that streak over a team they hadn’t beaten since the Beavers were in the NAIA was just icing on the cake.

“Right now, we need any win that we can get,” Bakala said. “But these guys have had our number for so many years and it was just nice to stick it to them. They didn’t outplay us, we held our own. They didn’t outplay us, we just straight up beat them.”

Like Saturday night, Bemidji was able to hold serve with the Fighting Sioux for the first two periods. The two teams were scoreless in the first. Then, after North Dakota’s Andrew MacWilliam and Mark MacMillan both took penalties on the same play, Jordan George found a loose rebound 1:12 into the ensuing five-on-three and tossed it off the top of Aaron Dell’s (23 saves) pad for his seventh goal of the season.

That goal was the first power-play goal in seven games for the Beavers, but to head coach Tom Serratore, scoring that goal was more than about breaking a streak.

“Quite honestly, it was not necessarily the power play goal as much as you have to score on a two-minute five-on-three,” he said. “And if you don’t score on a two-minute five-on-three, I think we all realize what happens – momentum goes over there. It’s a mind game with your power-play unit and with your team if you don’t score on that. We needed to convert it and we did.”

North Dakota kept shooting in search of an equalizer and found plenty of opportunities to do so. Jamie MacQueen, Darcy Findlay, Bakala and Matt Prapavessis all took minor penalties and Matt Carlson’s checking from behind penalty get North Dakota a five-minute major in the third.

Bakala and the Beavers held on and didn’t let North Dakota capitalize on any of their six power-play opportunities after going 2-for-4 Saturday night.

“The kids showed a lot of resiliency,” said Serratore. “The boys earned it and I’m proud of how they competed.”

For Bakala, it was his seventh career shutout. Serratore, however, was quick to put a lot of the credit on the shoulders of the Beavers’ defense, which blocked 21 shots.

“Dan [Bakala] played very well, but again, I thought we played well away from the puck,” said Serratore. “That goose egg was a team goose egg in my eyes.”

For North Dakota, it was another loss indicative of a young team that can’t seem to find consistent offensive output.

“I think we just have to look in the mirror,” said UND senior defenseman Ben Blood. “I don’t think it’s anyone we’ve played.”

Hakstol also alluded to some players in Sunday’s loss not making contributions to a team that needed the sweep to get back on track.

He didn’t single anyone out, but he said there were “a lot of people in the lineup tonight that didn’t provide a whole lot to the team and their teammates.”

Blood added that they are on the cusp of being able to win games consistently, but once again were unable to turn the corner.

“We’re right on that edge,” he said. “We were right there to take that step forward tonight, but we’re not mature enough. We’re not experienced enough to take that step to become a good hockey team.”

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  • Turken

    almost sounds like whining.  Young team that can’t find consistency?  Haven’t they been able to recruit the top players year in and year out?  So no one in the sophomore, junior and senior classes should be expected to step up?  Why the kid glove treatment?

    • Anonymous

      High-end prospects or not (and we’re talking about a freshman class that is missing its biggest standout) you don’t lose most of your top 6 forwards to graduation or the NHL without taking a few lumps along the way.

      • Ridingtimes

        What about Colorado College last year. We had 2 seniors and mostly Freshman and Sophmores??? We were one goal away from the National Championship game.

  • Boyd Oppegaard.com

    Thank goodness the Beavs got this monkey off their back.  A great victory for BSU!  Can’t wait to follow it up with some more wins when we head to the Ralph.

  • Ridingtimes

    Dakota fans kill me…CC had more freshman and Sophmore and how did they do last year in the NCAA Tournament? The reality is the just are not having a good year. Now everyone will be waiting to get back at the thugs from ND. Atleast they are matching there name..Sioux=a bunch of girls..name equals the team. There fans can not face it they and there team suck

    • http://ndgoon.blogspot.com Goon

      Wow, I hope you didn’t hurt your self thinking up that zinger. What’s up with the Misogyny? Sioux is not a girls name… And it’s “North Dakota” Skippy.

      • Ridingtimes

        Well your name matches your favorite team, You must be looking forward to a long winter..You had the Sioux to help now you have nothing. ND=North Dakota little boy. Sioux or Sue samething..

        • nogofer

          How do you spell sweep???  

  • Beaverfan

    Good win for the Beavers! Let’s hope they can carry this moment into the St. Cloud series

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